Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Female)
Archilochus colubris
August 26, 2012

The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is the only regular hummer species east of the Rockies in North America. I wouldn't mind more variety, but when one realizes that hummingbirds are only present in the Western Hemisphere, I'm lucky to be here and to see them.

Hummingbird migration kicked off in mid-August, and at first I only saw females and immatures. This page then covers females (who don't have a ruby throat); my parallel page has the males (who do have a ruby throat).

In our second year of living in State College, Pennsylvania, my wife and I planted a small rose of sharon, which was less than 3 feet tall. Six years later, and the rose of sharon is over 9 feet high and broad in all directions.

The blossoms from the rose of sharon are a hummingbird magnet. Following is a sequence of a female ruby-throated hummer planning to enjoy a little nectar. First, she sizes up her choice blossom.

Female ruby-thr0ated hummer inspecting a rose of sharon flower

Then the hummer maneuvers into position.
Female hummer maneuvering into position

Bottom's up and drink away!
Bottom's up

The final photo is of an immature ruby-throated hummingbird (black specks on the throat) up against a wall of rose of sharon blossoms.
Immature ruby-throated hummingbird

It seems to me that the height of the hummingbird migration only lasted a little over a week. During the peak, I could look out the back sliding door any time of the day and see at least one hummer. Good fun!

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with the Sigma 150-500mm lens, on 22 August 2012, for these photos (of my backyard).

My Pennsylvania bird list

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